Selecting Tires for Commercial Turf Equipment
Choosing the best tire for commercial equipment is a vital step that turf care professionals can take toward improving their business, and now there are more options than ever. Tires are what connect a turf pro’s primary tool, their equipment, to what the they care the most about, the turf—delicately balancing the equipment's need for traction with the importance of minimizing its impact on the turf. Keep reading for a few tips for finding the best tire for your operation.
Mower Tire Tread Patterns
One of the simplest ways to discover what type of turf tire your mowing operation needs is by determining how a tire’s tread design indicates its intended use: R3 turf, multi-task, or ribbed. Choosing the correct tire design for a particular application is an important decision for turf pros; a tire that doesn’t provide enough traction can lead to machines slipping, sliding, and tearing up grass and lawns, while a tire with a too-aggressive tread can unnecessarily dig up turf.
R3 Turf Tread
Tires with a turf-use tread are most commonly found on mowers and pull-behind equipment and provide turf protection but offer little traction. Typically, tires in this category are built with a circumferential tread composed of shaped blocks (for example chevrons or diamonds), low tread-to-void ratio, and round shoulders. But no matter how much they all look alike, there are distinct differences in quality that sometimes takes extra time to become apparent.
Turf-use mower tires—like our Galaxy Mighty Mow, Turf Special, and Mighty Mow TS—are designed to provide enough traction, stability, and self-cleaning for most mowing operations, while also creating an ample contact area between the tire and the ground to reduce turf damage caused by heavy equipment. The majority of turf-use tread patterns feature rounded shoulders to eliminate turf damage when turning. Turf-use tires are suitable for occasional use on hard surfaces like concrete and asphalt.
Tires with a multi-task tread provide traction while striving for as little damage to the turf as possible. They are best for jobs involving digging, plowing, towing, or transporting on less sensitive surfaces such as gravel, dirt, sand, and mud. Tires in this category generally resemble an ag tire with herringbone tread pattern and deeper lugs—until now, that is!
Multi-task tires, such as our Galaxy Garden Pro Multi-Task, are unique and designed to produce traction in difficult terrain while remaining sensitive to delicate surfaces. The uniquely designed broken-tread pattern and deeper lugs provide maximum traction in soft surfaces—such as sand, dirt and mud—and allow for excellent self-cleaning. They also stand up to hard surface wear and roading. Their radial design offers a better ride and lessens the impact on the equipment while producing a larger footprint for reduced compaction.
Smooth and Ribbed Tires
Smooth and ribbed tires either have no tread or slight ribs that run around the tire. The ribs and grooves help keep mowers straight, much as the horizontal tread found on mixed-use and all-terrain tires provides traction forward and backward. Providing relatively little traction, smooth and ribbed tires are most commonly used on front (non-drive) wheels and can help reduce turf damage when turning.
From Left to Right: R3 Turf Tread, Multi-Task Tread, and a Ribbed Tire
Tires like our Galaxy Garden Pro Multi-task feature radial construction—allowing them to travel at higher speeds and put a wider footprint on the ground. This is especially beneficial for machines working in specialized operations where traveling longer distances is needed.
In most cases, it is best to replace a tire with one of the same, and it's critical to do so when changing just one tire. However, there may be times when moving to a different size makes sense—for example, when looking to enlarge a tire's footprint in order to reduce compaction, increase or decrease height, or when moving from imperial sizing nomenclature to metric sizing.
If you're changing tires on your turf equipment, be sure to contact your local Alliance Tire Group dealer or rep for assistance with sizing and be sure to check out the wide selection of tire types and sizes available for turf equipment offered by ATG's Galaxy line of tires!